The 54th Verse of Surah MÁÞidah
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The 54th Verse of Surah MÁÞidah

Question: Who is the 54th verse of Surah MÁÞidah referring to?
Concise answer:
Detailed answer: The 54th verse of Surah MÁÞidah states: “O you who have faith! Should any of you desert his religion, Allah will soon bring a people whom He loves and who love Him, [who will be] humble towards the faithful, stern towards the faithless, waging jihad in the way of Allah, not fearing the blame of any blamer. That is Allah’s grace which He grants to whomever He wishes, and Allah is all-bounteous, all-knowing.”[1]

In the traditions narrated in the Islamic sourcebooks and according to the opinions of the commentators, the following has been said in regards to this aforementioned verse: In numerous traditions, narrated both by the Shia and the Sunni, it has been mentioned that this verse was revealed in regards to Imam ÝAlÐ (Ýa) during the Conquest of Khaybar, or his fight against the NÁkithÐn, QÁsiÔÐn, and MÁriqÐn.[2] After the Prophet (Ò) saw the inability of various individuals in winning over the fort of Khaybar, he stood in front of the Muslim army one night and he said: I swear by God that tomorrow I am going to give the flag to one who loves God and his Prophet (Ò) and is loved by God and his Prophet (Ò) as well. He will attack the enemy continuously, he will never retreat away from them, and he will not return from the battlefield unless God gives victory to the Muslims through his hands.[3] [4]

In another tradition, it has been mentioned that: When the Prophet (Ò) was asked in regards to this verse, he put his hand on SalmÁn’s shoulder and said: This verse is referring to him, his companions, and his countrymen. In this way, the Prophet (Ò) reportedly predicted the faith of the Iranians and their efforts towards the progression of Islam. Then the Prophet (Ò) added: If the religion (and according to other traditions knowledge) reaches all the way to the stars (specifically the pleides has been mentioned), the men of Iran will take hold of it.[5]

In another tradition, it has been mentioned that: This verse is in regards to the companions of the MahdÐ (Ýa) who will stand with all their power for the truth and for justice against those who have left the religion and they will fill the world with faith and justice.[6] There is no doubt that these traditions can be combined with one another without any issues of contradiction. This is because this verse (just like the rest of the Quran) has a general meaning which can apply to numerous individuals or situations. Therefore, it could apply to Imam ÝAlÐ (Ýa) as well as SalmÁn FarsÐ; it could even apply to yet other people or situations which have not been mentioned in the traditions.

Unfortunately, it can be said that national and racial biases have affected the interpretations of this verse and some individuals, who are completely devoid of the necessary qualifications or characteristics, have been referenced as examples of this verse. For example, AbÙ MÙsÁ AshÝarÐ (an individual completely unworthy of being referenced in such a verse) has been named as one such person![7] [8]


[1] «یا أَیُّهَا الَّذینَ آمَنُوا مَنْ یَرْتَدَّ مِنْکُمْ عَنْ دینِهِ فَسَوْفَ یَأْتِی اللهُ بِقَوْمٍ یُحِبُّهُمْ وَ یُحِبُّونَهُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنینَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْکافِرینَ یُجاهِدُونَ فی سَبیلِ اللهِ وَ لا یَخافُونَ لَوْمَةَ لَآئِمٍ ذالِکَ فَضْلُ اللهِ یُؤْتیهِ مَنْ یَشاءُ وَ اللهُ واسِعٌ عَلیمٌ»

[2] The first is in reference to the Battle of the Camel, the second is the battle with MuÝÁwÐyah, while the third is the battle against the KhawÁrij.

[3] «لاَ ُعْطِیَنَّ الرّایَةَ غَداً رَجُلاً، یُحِبُّ اللّهَ وَ رَسُولَهُ وَ یُحِبُّهُ اللّهُ وَ رَسُولُهُ، کَرّاراً غَیْرَ فَرّار، لا یَرْجِعُ حَتّى یَفْتَحَ اللّهُ عَلى یَدِهِ»

[4] Many traditions have been narrated in the BurhÁn and NÙr al-Thaqalayn commentaries from the Imams (Ýa). Scholars from the Ahl al-Sunnah, such as ThaÝlabÐ have also narrated this tradition…

[5] MajmaÝ al-bayÁn, vol. 3, p. 208 (vol. 3, p. 358, MuÞasasah al-ÝAlamÐ LilmaÔbÙÝÁt, Beirut, First Edition, 1415 HijrÐ); NÙr al-thaqalayn, vol. 1, p. 641 and 642: «لَوْ کانَ الدِّیْنُ مُعَلَّقاً بِالثُّرَیّا لَتَناوَلَهُ رِجالٌ مِنْ أَبْناءِ الْفارْسِ»

[6] MajmaÝ al-bayÁn, vol. 3, p. 359, MuÞasasah al-ÝAlamÐ LilmaÔbÙÝÁt, Beirut, First Edition, 1415 HijrÐ; TafsÐr ÝAlÐ ibn IbrÁhÐm QummÐ, vol. 1, p. 170…

[7] TafsÐr ÓabarÐ, vol. 6, p. 184 (vol. 6, p. 383, DÁr al-Fikr, Beirut, 1415 HijrÐ QamarÐ)…

[8] Taken from the text: TafsÐr NemÙneh, Ayatullah MakÁrim ShÐrÁzÐ, DÁr al-Kutub al-IslÁmÐyah, 26th Edition, vol. 4, p. 525.
Published on: « 1393/02/22 »


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